DTF asks UGC Pay Review Committee to consult teachers

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New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Criticising the UGC Pay Review Committee for not seeking the opinion of the academia on various issues leading to flight of talent, the Democratic Teachers' Front said the exercise would lead to ''wrong and disastrous'' conclusions.

The UGC Pay Review Committee has sent questionnaires to universities and colleges asking them to respond by May 31.

''The views of the academia do not get duly represented in those of the administration.... the UGC Pay Review Committee must discuss with the teachers' association and seek their views on the same,'' DTF President Shaswati Mazumdar said.

Pointing out that the questionnaires sent separately to the universities and colleges have a common part titled "General Questions", she said structuring of that part wa a matter of concern.

''While seemingly it has opened up the debate for and against further hierarchical differentiation within the teaching profession in higher education, it has placed too much of emphasis on seeking choices from among myriad forms of differentiation such as between university teachers and college teachers, within the category of professors, within each category of Lecturer, Reader and Professor in terms of increments,'' she added.

She said such differentiation was inappropriate and based on a ''gross misunderstanding'' of the teaching-learning process.

''Instead of rewarding excellence, it may encourage efficient ways of satisfying performance appraisal formats. Moreover, the DTF apprehends that there is a temptation to succumb to the argument that academic performance is an entirely individual achievement.'' Calling upon DUTA and the All-India Teachers' Organisations to take up issues with the UGC Pay Review Committee, Ms Mazumdar said differentiating pay scales of college and university teachers was often a ''ruse to deny adequate pay to college teachers and bound to adversely affect the quality of higher education.'' ''It is also a matter of concern that while the UGC seeks opinion on whether the pay of a Professor should be equal to that of a Joint Secretary or an Additional Secretary, it makes no mention of the pay of a Lecturer at entry level,'' she pointed out.

She said the UGC had recommended to the government that the entry pay of teachers be higher than the Group A officers and that each teacher be entitled to three promotions upto the professors' grade.

''Those recommendations were based on a recognition that otherwise a teacher fell behind Group B services in terms of career earning,'' she added.

''Unless those recommendations are made the starting points for further improvement, the teaching profession would end up with the same entry salary as Group A services but worse service conditions, thereby, erasing it completely as a career option for young talent,'' she said.

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